| Quote #19
[Bertran de Born]: "Because I severed those so joined, I carry –
Dante’s only explicit mention of contrapasso, or "the law of counter-penalty," occurs late in the poem. Perhaps because this canto best illustrates the concept of contrapasso, Dante mentions it here. Indeed, Bertran de Born’s grotesque punishment – having his head separated from his body for pitting a king and his son, the prince, against each other – neatly depicts the way in which contrapasso functions.
| Quote #20
I do not think that there was greater grief
Since all the falsifiers suffer a number of diseases which distort their bodies, Dante implies that blatant lying is as serious a condition as an actual malady. If a healthy soul always speaks the truth, these sinners must indeed lie through their teeth since they are so sick they "[have] not the strength enough to lift themselves." Here more than anywhere else, Dante attacks the infectious, social aspect of fraud. Each of the different types of falsifiers corrupts a particular bond that unites individual human beings. Alchemists compromise the material stability of the world, falsifiers of persons degrade men’s relationships with each other, counterfeiters compromise the integrity of currency, and liars debase language. All these falsifiers corrupt the natural fabric of reality, and thus have their naturalness compromised by the scourge of disease.
| Quote #21
And as the croaking frog sits with its muzzle
Immersion in ice is the perfect punishment for traitors for a number of reasons. The coldness of ice signals the lack of warmth and humanity present in the traitors’ hearts that has allowed them to betray their peers. Also, ice immobilizes the sinners so they cannot move to betray their fellows, as they did in life. The only part of them which can move is their mouths, which they use to bear "witness to the cold they [feel]."